Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for May 2018

What about the other college “professor”?

with 26 comments

That would be the mysterious Joseph Mifsud who brefriended the bozo George Papadopoulos. Joseph Mifsud has disappeared and no one knows where he is, not even his fiancée who since gave birth to his baby.

This article suggests that Mifsud was actually a U.K. intelligence asset and not a Russian asset, and he intentionally planted the story with Papadopoulos about Russia having the Clinton emails, so that the Australian guy who arranged a donation of $25 million to the Clinton Foundation, Alexander Downer, could then get it out of him and then report it to the United States government through an intermediary and thus set the stage for additional “investigation” into the Trump campaign.

Wow, what a conspiracy theory! And one that appears to have a good chance of being true!

* * *

It looks more and more likely that there was a U.K. intelligence operation to provide probable cause to the U.S. FBI to allow them to get warrants to go fishing for stuff. Was it the U.K. deep state acting on its own, or did it come from the Prime Minister’s office? David Cameron publicly mad known his hatred of Trump and it would make sense that he would use his powers to help Clinton. Did Obama himself know about it?

It’s not conjecture, The Guardian reported that the U.K. was actively involved in spying against Trump: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/13/british-spies-first-to-spot-trump-team-links-russia

So maybe Trump was wrong that the FBI was spying on him, actually MI6 and GCHQ were spying on him.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 21, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Politics

Northern Exposure (1990)

with 44 comments

I watched the first three episodes of Northern Exposure this weekend. (Unfortunately, there’s no way to legally stream the show, but there’s a well-seeded torrent.)

In 1990, the people creating this show probably thought they were being progressive and edgy, but looking back there’s a lot that’s politically-incorrect and violates various taboos present in contemporary TV shows.

The main character (at least in the first season) is Jewish doctor Joel Fleischmann, who agreed to work for four years in Alaska as a stipulation for a scholarship that paid for his medical school. He thought he was going to work in a hospital in the Anchorage area, but instead is assigned to a small town of 800 residents in the boondocks. The small town is full of quirky characters.

The humor is heavily based on ethnic stereotypes, with the doctor being stereotypically Jewish in a very obnoxious sort of way, and the Indians (native-American Indians, not Hindu Indians) are all very slow, both mentally and in their pace of doing things. Or sometimes, the Indians have wise ancient-Indian wisdom, and when that happens mysterious Indian music plays in the background to key us in. This sort of ethnic stereotyping is no longer allowed.

The people behind the series probably thought they were being progressive by having a lot of Indian actors in the cast, but today an American TV series would never be allowed to happen with only white and Indian cast members. There would have to be a token black or someone who’s at least ethnically ambiguous but part-black in there somewhere. Even though it’s perfectly realistic that there wouldn’t be any black people in a tiny hamlet in the middle of nowhere in Alaska. (Although Girls managed to somehow get away with only being about white girls.)

The people behind the series probably thought they were being progressive by having a feminist character in the series (Maggie O’Connell, the local pilot), but today every female in a TV series is a feminist, not just one. Instead, the series would be condemned for its “virulently homophobic” second episode. And Joel would probably be accused of “toxic masculinity” for acting “entitled” to be an object of desire by Maggie, even though he has a girlfriend back in New York City.

The show does paint an unrealistically idealized view of a small town in the boondocks. In reality, half the Indians would be alcoholics, and half the whites would be meth addicts (meth was what rural white trash in the West were doing in the 1990s), and no one would be quirky in a good and charming kind of way.

So far I enjoyed it, and will continue to watch more episodes.

* * *

Note that I did watch the show in it’s original run in the 1990s, but I barely remember it, and I think I stopped watching midway through its run, so it’s almost like discovering a new series.

I am told by commenters that a black character was eventually introduced, one who doesn’t at all make sense for the milieu of rural Alaska, but I guess they were pressured about the lack of a token black character.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 21, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Television

Monday morning comments on Trump

with 8 comments

This pro-Trump editorial at The Hill (worth reading) has some information I hadn’t realized, that the Australian diplomat who told on the low-level Trump staffer to the FBI had previously arranged a donation of $25 million to the Clinton Foundation.

The editorial suggests that it wasn’t an accidental conversation, but that the Australian diplomat was fishing for self-incriminating statements to help Clinton.

Actually, it was Clinton who was receiving dirt on the opposition from foreign powers, and not Trump.

* * *

Also recommend yesterday’s op-ed, After year of investigation, Trump can rightly claim some vindication.

In early 2017, President Trump was widely ridiculed for alleging that the Obama administration placed his campaign under surveillance. The response from experts on CNN and other sites was open mockery. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper came forward to assure the media that he could categorically deny the allegation and stated, “There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president, the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign.” The range of media analysis seemed to run from whether Trump was a clinical paranoid or a delusional demagogue.

We now know there was, indeed, surveillance ordered repeatedly on Trump campaign figures before and after the election. …

* * *

Dictionary definition of a spy: “a person who secretly collects and reports information on the activities, movements, and plans of an enemy or competitor.”

That sounds like what the Australian diplomat and the college professor were doing to the Trump campaign, but the fakestream media insists “no spying!”

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 21, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Politics

Trump takes charge?

with 30 comments

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 20, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Politics

Best Muppet movie ever?

with 33 comments

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 19, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Movies

Marijuana is for the cool rich kids

with 59 comments

That’s how it seemed to me in the 1980s. I don’t know if this is still true or not.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 18, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Mass shooting at high school in Santa Fe, Texas

with 60 comments

That’s Santa Fe, Texas, not Santa Fe, New Mexico.

All I know so far is at least 8 dead. The shooter, in custody, is a student at the school.

HE SOUNDS GREEK!

The suspected shooter arrested after a rampage that killed at least nine people at Santa Fe High School this morning is 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis.

“Classmates told NBC News that Pagourtzis wore a trenchcoat to school everyday, even if it was hot.”

Sounds like the kids from Columbine.

He also had social media pages with the usual pictures of guns and ammo and Nazi trinkets.

“Some students claimed that Pagourtzis was bullied by students and another teacher.”

Ah ha!!! Yes!!! That’s expected. Another bullied kid who sought revenge against the bullies.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 18, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in News

The coming end of a nerdy hobby

with 24 comments

The Wall Street Journal reports that more police department are doing away with analog police radios that can easily be listened to by scanners that you could buy at Radio Shack (which no longer exists).

A “scanner” is a radio receiver with a keypad so you can enter any frequency that it is capable of receiving, and it can receive a lot of different frequencies. You can program it with a list of frequencies that it will scan, and stop when it finds a broadcast on one of the frequencies in the list.

I bought a scanner at Radio Shack in the 1990s, and it was great back then because half the people had analog cordless phones that you could pick up. You could even hear some mobile phone calls.

Today no one sells analog cordless phones anymore. Mobile phones went all-digital around the year 2000. It’s surprising that there are police departments still using analog broadcast technology. Even back in the 1990s, many police departments had already moved to technology that made it harder to listen in on them.

Anyway, in a few more years, scanners will be pretty useless and completely obsolete. The sad end of a cool nerdy device.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 18, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Technology

Guido lawyer

with 72 comments

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/05/17/lawyer-who-threatened-to-call-ice-about-spanish-speakers-is-now-target-of-complaint/?utm_term=.7755b2324343

For how much longer will this be a story?

I prefer to call him a guido lawyer rather than a “racist” lawyer, even though his B.A. in English from Johns Hopkins is a very non-Guido degree. You don’t have to be Italian to be a guido. There are Jewish guidos too!

The dumbest paragraph in the Washington Post article:

“Curious, how does a lawyer (years of studying and understanding Federal and State law) be openly racist? Especially in NY,” wrote one woman, identified as Sherry D. “That bias attitude doesn’t sit well and quite frankly, it’s hypocritical to promote on your website ‘Spanish, French and Chinese’ speaking.”

I don’t know what studying law has to do with having uncontrolled anger issues and disliking massive uncontrolled immigration.

* * *

His law degree from George Washington University is also non-guido. See my previous post about guido law. But as they say, you can take the boy out of Bensonhurst, but you can’t take Bensonhurst out of the boy.

* * *

I wish I could find more info about this guy. Where did he grow up? Is he married?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 18, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Law, Uncategorized

Classic post: Twelve Year Old Victim of Record Industry Lawsuit

with 19 comments

First published September 10, 2003. This is the earliest example I could find of me writing a long post that’s interesting to read.

* * *

The news story today is that a twelve year old girl from the housing projects was sued by the record industry for downloading music from the internet, and her parents had to pay $2,000.

I think I wrote in a previous blog entry about how the price of music has increased faster than the rate of inflation. Compared to the record albums I would buy when I was in high school, CDs today cost more money, even after inflation is factored in. This is despite the fact that all other things for sale in an electronics store have come down in price, and it probably costs a lot less to manufacture a CD than it used to cost to manufacture a vinyl record. So it’s not surprising that consumers have the sense that they are being ripped off. They are.

Defender’s of the music industry seem to have the notion that the music companies have some kind of God given right to a perpetual monopoly on their music. The right doesn’t come from God, it comes from Congress. The purpose of laws in general, and the copyright law in particular, is to benefit the public. The theory is that without the grant of a monopoly in the form of a patent or a copyright, inventors wouldn’t invent and artists wouldn’t create.

To a large extent this is true. Would a drug company invest tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions, of dollars in researching a new drug if they weren’t allowed to profit from it? The probably wouldn’t. Would someone spend two years writing a book if they couldn’t profit from it? They might just for the sake of vanity. No one is paying me to write this blog. When I wrote an editorial column for the Arizona State Press, I was paid only $15 per column, I didn’t do that for the money. Nevertheless, we can agree that a lot of books might not be written without copyright protection.

But how long should the protection be? Drug companies invest tens of millions into developing a new drug, even though the patent system only gives them twenty years of protection. (The issue is a little bit more complicated than that, but the purpose of this blog entry isn’t to explain the minutia of intellectual property law, so let’s call it twenty years.) Why do artists need over a hundred years of copyright protection? Would an artist think “after I am dead I won’t be able to profit any more from this, why bother?” No, no one in their right mind would think like that. I don’t see a good reason why copyrights should grant any more than twenty years of protection, just like patents. Twenty years is a plenty long time to profit from your published work. Artists don’t need protection seventy years after they are dead (which is what the current law provides).

Public libraries have been around in this country back when we were still owned by the British. In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin wrote about founding the first public library. Anyone can go to the library, and read the books there for free, but people still publish books nevertheless. No one says we should do away with libraries, because it benefits the nation that people have access to books that they don’t have to pay for.

The question I didn’t ask yet is this: would musicians still create music if there were no copyright laws to protect them? And the answer to this question is yes they would! Very few musicians actually make any money from selling CDs. I’ve known several musicians, and they all made their money from doing live performances. In the absence of copyright law, musicians would still have an incentive to release their music to the public, because if they become famous they can make millions of dollars giving live concerts in large arenas, and the only way they can become famous is if they get their music out to the masses.

When we buy a CD, the musicians actually get very little of the money we spend on it. Most of the money goes to the music company, and most of the costs incurred by the music company go towards marketing and not towards the production of the music. So when we buy a CD, we are mostly paying the music companies for the service of telling us what to buy! That’s a service that I could do without. Maybe, without copyright protection, the quality of music would actually increase. Instead of relying on expensive marketing campaigns to become popular, musicians would actually have to rely on the quality of their music.

The copyright laws have ceased being about benefiting the public as a whole. They exist to benefit special interests who donate millions of dollars to politicians. It’s clear that with much less protection, artists would still create, but the public would better be able to enjoy their creations without having to pay exorbitant fees to the special interest music and publishing industries.

We also need to acknowledge that, with respect to recorded music, technology has made enforcement of the copyright law no longer viable. We see this because truly everybody is violating it. I don’t hold the girl in the housing project responsible for doing anything wrong, because when I was a teenager in the 1980s, we used to make tapes of our friends’ records. And I still make copies of CDs. (I don’t bother to use KaZaA or those other file-sharing programs because it doesn’t seem worth the hassle, given that I prefer listening to whole CDs rather than just individual soundtracks and that I now have enough money that I can afford to buy any CD that I really wanted.)

According to an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal , “[m]any entertainment executives say privately that they have been unable to stop their own children from using KaZaA and other file-sharing services.” Truly everyone is illegally copying music if this includes the entertainment executives’ own children.

The issues are similar to the speed limit laws that I recently discussed. The fact that everyone copies music indicates that the overwhelming majority believe that it is not wrong to do it. Any law that everyone violates is a bad law that shouldn’t exist. We should rewrite the laws so that what the twelve year old girl from the housing project did isn’t illegal. Yes, this might mean that certain people in the music industry would be financially less well off, but they wouldn’t be the first, or the last, group of people to be hurt by new technology. Just as we didn’t shed too many tears for the people working in the typewriter industry who lost their livelihood because everyone started using word processors, neither should we be too concerned about the people in the music industry. Because under the current system, they are enriching themselves unfairly at the expense of the rest of us.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 17, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Law

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